Are you wondering how to fit gardening into your life? Start small! With a bit of planning, you can master the basics—and then go beyond. In this guide, you will find everything you need to know to make a garden grow. So, roll up your sleeves and read on!
GARDEN PLANNING TIPS
WHERE TO START? HERE ARE 5 TIPS TO CONSIDER:
- Space is often the biggest limitation. Think about how much space you have for growing. Once you select your vegetables, you will notice that some plants take more room to grow than others, and you will need to make some choices. For example, corn needs a lot of space and can over-shadow shorter vegetables. Plants set too close together compete for sunlight, water, and nutrition and fail to mature. If you are tight on room, remember you can always grow vegetables in con-tainers.
- Length of the growing season in your region is very important. If you live in the far North, some vegetables may not mature during your growing season.
- Seriously think about how much time you have to devote to your garden. For example, bush beans grow prolifically with little care. Radishes almost grow themselves. However, tomatoes will require staking and pruning. (We have more information on easy-to-grow crops below!)
- Understand the timing of harvest. For example, warm-season vegetables such as peppers will start later than cool-season vegetables such a lettuce and broccoli. (More on which vegetables to choose later.)
- Test out the Almanac Garden Planner software. We’ve done the research for you. The planner calculates how many vegetables fit in a space, as well as the planting and harvesting dates for every vegetable! It will save you a lot of headaches (and money) and yield bigger harvests.
CHOOSING WHICH VEGETABLES TO GROW
Only grow things that you like to eat. There’s no sense in cultivating veggies destined for the compost heap. The vegetables suggested below are common, productive plants, but you’ll also want to con-tract your local cooperative extension to determine what plants grow best in your local area. Think about what you like to eat as well as what’s difficult to find in a grocery store or farmers’ market.
- Tomatoes—5 plants staked
- Zucchini squash—4 plants
- Peppers—6 plants
- Bush beans
- Lettuce, leaf and/or Bibb
- Marigolds to discourage rabbits!